When 1970’s heartthrob Chad Everett and Shelby Grant took their oath of “…for better, for worse…to love and to cherish, till death do us part,” they really meant it.
In an enviable love story, Everett and Grant were fully committed to one another in their 45 years of marriage, and only parted when Grant unexpectedly died aneurysm in 2011.
Everett, born Raymon Lee Cramton, was a ruggedly handsome man who started his career as a journeyman with Warner Bros.
After he appeared in some commercials, an agent–Henry Willson who worked with Rock Hudson–renamed him Chad Everett. Everett said the change was welcome, because his real name was confusing, “Raymon, no ‘d,’ Cramton, no ‘p.’ ”
The gorgeous blue-eyed Everett first appeared in an episode of the 1960’s detective TV series, Surfside 6 and is credited with other TV roles in The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Melrose Place, Cold Case, Supernatural and most recently, Castle. He also appeared in the movies The Singing Nun, Return of the Gunfighter, Airplane II: The Sequel, Mulholland Drive and Psycho.
But it was his role as the surgeon in perfectly fitted scrubs, that turned him into a Hollywood hunk.
Everett got his lucky break when he was cast in the leading role of Dr. Joe Gannon in the medical drama, Medical Center, which ran from 1969 to 1976.
Also known as Calling Dr. Gannon, the award-winning drama was the top medical show on TV, until it was dethroned by George Clooney and E.R.
His chiseled cheekbones and bedside manner made fans swoon, but the charming Everett only had eyes for one woman, who kept his full attention until July 2012, the day he died.
He first saw actor Shelby Grant at the race car event, Riverside 500, where he was “on the prowl.”
It was a love at first sight moment for the two, who didn’t have a conversation until a couple days later when they saw each other again at the beach.
During their courtship, Grant said he sent her so many flowers that “my balcony looked like a burial ground.”
Everett and Grant, who gave up acting to raise the family, were married in 1966 and had two children, Shannon and Katherine (Kate).
“We’ve been soulmates for many lifetimes,” Chad said on the day he married Grant.
Every seven years, Everett and Grant would renew their marriage vows, twice their daughters officiated.
“My sister and I were officiants at two of their renewals,” said daughter Kate Thorp in an interview with The Closer. “They were deeply in love and truly had respect for each other.”
Everett was committed to Grant and his children, who he was very involved in raising.
“We were fortunate to grow up on a ranch. Whether playing tennis, swimming, horseback riding, or just watching a football game together, our family life was always just that–family together!” Kate said.
But often, the “for worse,” follows the “for better.”
When Medical Center ended, Everett–who owned 15 percent of the show–had some financial padding, allowing him and his family a comfortable life.
“Maybe I was a little too comfortable,” said Everett in an interview with People. It was in 1986 when his wife confronted him about his addiction to alcohol, “Finally I said, ‘I am really in trouble.’ I stepped outside, and I looked up and I said, ‘Father, you take it. I can’t handle it anymore.’”
It was then he shifted his dependency from alcohol to his loving family.
Asking his two daughters into his bedroom for a talk, Everett explained, “I am addicted to alcohol, and I am not going away to detox. I am going to do it here so that you can see what happens to someone if you let a substance take control of you.”
Recalling the conversation she had with her father many years ago, Kate said, “He felt that if he could serve as an example, we’d known that not only is it not a quick fix, but that people can get better.”
Leaning on the support of family, Alcoholics Anonymous and his strong religion, he continued to fight for his freedom over alcohol.
At his lowest point, Everett praised his wife for her infallible support, saying she “never threatened to leave. She would tell me that she was there for me. If not for my family, I would have been in big trouble.”
Grant even stood by her husband during a legal battle with Sheila Scott, who claimed Everett fathered her son Dale, who was born in 1973.
After about two decades and 100 phone messages later–that included death threats against Everett and his wife–Scott plead guilty to harassment. According to AP News, Scott was court ordered psychological evaluation and told to refrain from making public claims against Everett, but even years after his death, she continued to attack his daughters on Twitter.
Everett died of lung cancer in 2012. The 75-year-old star left behind his two daughters and six grandchildren.
“He always recognized that it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” Kate said. “He was proudest of his wife, children and grandchildren.”
Shannon shared, “he could make you feel like you were the most important person in the room.”
Surely, his wife and daughters were always the only important people in the room with him.
It’s really sad that Everett and his wife both passed, only one year apart from the other. But maybe he just couldn’t live without her.
Did you ever watch Medical Center? We’d love to hear your memories of Chad Everett!